As the only state capital in the contiguous United States that borders an ocean shoreline, Boston, Massachusetts is a beautiful destination for visitors and residents alike. With a population of 680,000 people, Boston is able to boast being host to Harvard University, Boston Scientific, Fenway Park, and a list of popular historic sites related to the American Revolution.
Along with these popular attractions, however, lies a darker side to the famous city. The opioid epidemic has swept Boston, taking over 600 lives in its wake due to overdose deaths. Massachusetts Avenue, nicknamed “Methadone Mile”, is notorious for hosting open drug deals and trades once the sun goes down. The city is no stranger to alcoholism and other drug addiction as well.
There is hope, however, for individuals suffering from drug abuse and addiction who want to seek help.
With over 30 facilities specializing in residential drug rehabilitation, medical detox, and stabilization, you don’t need to travel far to find professional help. Researching what type of rehab is right for you and which facility fits your needs best is the key to a successful recovery.
What Is Medical Detox?
Recommended for certain types of addiction, medical detox is a safe and controlled way to detox your body from drug dependency. Only certain types of substance abuse are recommended for medical detox, including opioid addiction, alcohol dependence, and benzodiazepine addiction. For these types of addictions, detox will be the first step in recovery and will safely rid your system of the drugs.
Medical detox is prescribed for patients with a prolonged dependence on drugs with life-threatening withdrawal symptoms. These programs utilize primarily medical approaches, such as administering drugs like naloxone for example. This is to ensure the drug is flushed from your system with minimal negative side effects. These side effects, or symptoms withdrawal, can include:
- Hand and muscle shakes
- Night sweats and night terrors
- Quick to anger or agitation
- Auditory and visual hallucinations
- Nausea and vomiting
- Weight loss due to malnutrition
- Phantom pains in extremities
- Seizures leading to coma or possibly death
Medical detoxification is not for all types of addiction, and typically won’t be covered by insurance for addictions that do not have life threatening withdrawal symptoms. While medical detox is a good first step for qualifying individuals with addictions, it only combats the physical and chemical dependency of drug addiction. Medical detox is most successful when followed by an inpatient rehabilitation program that can also address the mental and emotional components of addiction.
A vital step in the rehabilitation process, inpatient addiction rehabilitation allows patients to reside in the actual rehab facility which provides them with 24-hour support and physician supervision in a controlled environment. The ability to remove a patient entirely from the stressors and triggers they experienced in their previous environment. This aspect contributes significantly to the success of an inpatient client.
Different programs and type of addiction will cause inpatient stay length to vary, but generally patients will complete a program ranging from 30-90 days in length. The ability to remove a patient from many of the temptations that surrounded their addiction is one of the reasons inpatient rehab is considered to be such an essential step for recovery. Because of this aspect, it is common for families to choose inpatient rehab facilities that are located in another state to ensure their loved one is able to focus on their recovery without the temptations of their previous life.
Inpatient rehabilitation covers any type of addiction, instead of only specific addictions like medical detox. Inpatient rehab also focuses more on the mental and emotional challenges of addiction while still treating and monitoring the physical withdrawal symptoms that come with it. Some inpatient rehab centers do offer medical detox programs in their facility, which helps clients make a seamless transition from detox to rehab. Other medical detox programs are standalone facilities that partner with inpatient facilities to ensure treatment plans are followed from program to program.
Even if you are a part of a detox or inpatient program that partners with another facility or program, the decision is always up to the client.
Research is always the best preparation when considering different rehabilitation programs. Choosing a program that fits your needs best and encompasses all facets affecting your addiction is the key to long-term recovery.
Outpatient rehabilitation programs are meant to offer extended support to individuals who are transitioning from inpatient rehab back into their normal lives. This kind of program can be an essential part of the rehabilitation process, as it can be a crutch to lean on when day to day life brings back some of the old triggers and stressors of your addiction. While outpatient rehab is not as successful when used as the sole rehabilitation program, there are still many benefits to choosing an outpatient rehab program that fits your needs and lifestyle.
When you are a part of an outpatient rehabilitation program, you are able to go back to work and live at home. Transitioning from inpatient rehab to an outpatient program also allows you to take behaviors and techniques learned during your inpatient rehab and apply them to your life back at home. You will also be able to care for your children and spend time with family and friends, which can help to provide a full network of support for your recovery.
Since outpatient rehab takes place while you reside in your own home, there is the possibility of being exposed to the same temptations and stressors that you have encountered before.
This is why outpatient rehab is strongly recommended as a supplement to any inpatient program, to ensure that you are fully equipped with the mechanisms to overcome these temptations. There are many more chances to get distracted or lose your focus with outpatient programs than there were with inpatient rehab. However, if you are able to utilize the network of support that outpatient rehab provides for you, then it can be a very beneficial experience that will help you get back to your life.
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Outpatient rehab is often covered by insurance, and any meetings or events that are sponsored by your outpatient program tend to be held on weeknights or weekends so you are able to continue living a normal life.
The intent of any outpatient program is to offer support on your toughest days, and encouragement and congratulations for your milestones. Often times the network of support you build through an outpatient program will remain with you for life.
Outpatient rehab is defined by three main types of programs. Each program is intended to treat addiction at different severities and through different modalities. These programs include:
- Intensive Outpatient: Intensive outpatient programs are the most intense option for outpatient treatment. These programs generally involve three or more meetings per week that can last several hours. You will generally be assigned a sponsor for this program as well, someone who will pick up the phone at any time of the day to offer you advice and support. Intensive outpatient programs will usually still plan around your own work/school schedule to allow you to get back to your daily life.
- Therapy and Counseling: Therapy and counseling are generally offered during inpatient rehabilitation, but are an important part of continued recovery once you return home. A good therapist can help you identify more about the root cause and triggers that helped lead to your addiction in the first place. Therapists can also help you apply the behaviors and techniques you learned during inpatient rehab to your life at home. It is important to still rely on your support network even when having regular meetings with a therapist or counselor, as these individuals may not be available to talk around the clock. Identifying who your support system is when no one else will answer can help you through your toughest days.
- Partial Hospitalization: Partial hospitalization is not as common as intensive outpatient or therapy sessions, however it is a good option for individuals suffering from addiction that require medical monitoring. Generally, these programs will include several hours at the hospital (4-8 hours per day) that include both medical monitoring as well as counseling/mentoring sessions. Partial hospitalization is only a good option for individuals who have a stable and steady home to go back to, with supervised support that will encourage them to stay on track.
When choosing an outpatient program for yourself or for a loved one, keep in mind the treatment types that resonated well with them during inpatient rehab and try to continue with an outpatient program that can continue that type of treatment at home. When the right program is selected, outpatient rehab can be the difference between a relapse or a continued recovery.
Commonly Abused Drugs In Boston
Heroin Addiction in Boston
As a powerful opioid and narcotic, heroin holds a very high potential for addiction. Overdose deaths resulting from heroin and other opioids took nearly 200 lives in the city alone last year. Boston has been hit heavily by the opioid epidemic, consequently leading more and more lives into the grasp of heroin once prescription opioids are either unattainable or unaffordable.
Heroin is generally a last step on the road of opioid addiction, as an easily accessible replacement for the prescriptions they once took.
New restrictions on opioid prescriptions have been put in place to help fight against the opioid epidemic in Massachusetts, along with additional rehab centers and halfway houses.
Alcohol Addiction in Boston
Alcohol accounted for 31% of drug rehab admissions in 2015, making up more than a third of the population’s substance abuse issues. As a drug that is legal and easily accessible to those who are of age, alcohol abuse is a common addiction in the city. According to Massachusetts law, drivers with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or higher are considered to be driving drunk.
Last year Boston police made 241 arrests for drunk driving within the city’s limits, which is a commonality with individuals who suffer from alcohol abuse and alcoholism. Numerous arrests were also made for having an open container of alcohol in the vehicle while driving as well as driving under the influence of alcohol in combination with other drugs. While these arrests have been declining over the past few years, Massachusetts still maintains a strict stance on alcohol control and continues with an aggressive campaign about the dangers of alcohol and addiction.
Benzodiazepine Addiction in Boston
Commonly prescribed to treat anxiety and insomnia, benzodiazepines prescriptions have been on the rise over the past decade. Commonly sold brands include Xanax, Valium, Klonopin, and Restoril appear everywhere in ads and on TV. Like many large cities, Boston has seen an increase in the number of rehab admissions for benzodiazepine addiction in correlation with the increase in benzodiazepine prescriptions.
But a group of Boston residents are fighting back through a bill known as Bill H4062: Informed Consent for Benzodiazepines and Non-benzodiazepine Hypnotics. This bill was drafted in an attempt to protect patients against misinformation or a lack of information regarding the potential risks of benzodiazepines. The bill argues that dependency and other permanent effects on the body can occur even if a patient takes the drug exactly as prescribed. Supporters of the bill are demanding full transparency and informed consent regarding the potential dangers of the drug so that patients are able to make an informed decision on how to treat their anxiety or insomnia.
Those opposing this bill have lobbied academic and practicing psychiatrists to speak out against the bill, stating it ‘singled’ benzodiazepines out against other drugs and also increased the stigma that patients suffering from anxiety already struggle with.
Although the bill has not yet passed, supporters hope that it will eventually help educate patients to advocate for their own health and fight back against benzodiazepine addiction in Boston.
Cocaine and Crack Cocaine in Boston
Cocaine trade runs rampant among Boston’s nightlife and the party habits of its wealthier residents. Often referred to as ‘a rich man’s drug’, cocaine is known for being a common presence at parties in upscale bars and nightclubs and the homes of Boston’s A-listers. Cocaine is often snorted, but can be melted and injected for a more intense and immediate high as well. Crack is a very similar drug to cocaine chemically, and can produce similar results. Crack is considered a ‘free base’ cocaine, meaning it is mixed with a base such as baking soda to remove the HCL that is in the cocaine.
Socially speaking, however, crack and cocaine are two very different drugs. Where cocaine will appeal to the wealthier crowd, crack is a drug of choice for low-income or minority groups. Cost is a major factor in this, and crack is a much more cost effective choice over cocaine. Drug criminalization in Boston has had a big effect on this as well, which has imprisoned thousands of offenders only to release them back into the addiction years later.
Decriminalizing schedule I and II drugs like heroin, crack, and cocaine has become a big focus for the fight against drugs in Boston.
Social justice groups in support of racial equality, such as Black Lives Matter, have openly opposed the criminalization of drugs in the United States stating that criminalization of drugs racially profiles black Americans and continues the cycle of systematic oppression. Some medical professionals have even spoken out against the criminalization of drugs, such as clinical pharmacist Jenni Stein, hoping to fight against drugs like crack and cocaine through education and rehabilitation, not jail time.
As a leader in drug and alcohol rehabilitation, Swift River has provided customizable rehabilitation programs to citizens of Massachusetts and the surrounding region. Swift River provides all three types of rehabilitation mentioned above, and a variety of modalities and clinical approaches in an inpatient setting. Some of the treatment programs offered by Swift River include:
- Medically supervised detox
- Individual and group psychosocial therapies
- Medication assisted therapy
- Transition and aftercare
- Behavioral adjustment techniques
- Adventure therapy activities
Because of its serene setting in the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts, Swift River offers a unique program dubbed “Adventure Therapy”. The adventure therapy program aims to take you out of your comfort zone and immerse you into activities you perhaps never thought you would be able to do. Some of these activities include mountain climbing, building shelters, starting fire from scratch, master survival techniques, fishing, cooking over a fire, and hiking. Pushing you beyond your comfort zone can be naturally healing and empowering at the same time.
Swift River is dedicated to your sobriety, and for that reason many of their programs are customizable to fit your needs and expectations. There are a variety of clinical approaches used across the programs offered by Swift River, which gives you more power when it comes to tailoring a program specifically to you. Upon completion of an inpatient program, Swift River can get you set up with an aftercare program and help you find housing that will continue your recovery, not inhibit it.
If you or a loved one suffers from addiction, the first step is professional help. If you would like to learn more about the programs and services offered at Swift River call us today. Your call is always confidential, and our addiction treatment specialists are available to talk around the clock. Start your journey to recovery today.